Mumbai: Amid the spread of Delta-plus variant, the ongoing second wave and a possible third wave of COVID 19 pandemic, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday directed the health department to prepare a plan for districts to have additional oxygen and ICU beds, besides the setting up of field hospitals. Thackeray said even though Level 5 unlock strategy has been imposed, the district administration should not be in a hurry to relax the curbs in a rush as it would be unwise to do so.
At the virtual meeting with the district collectors, Thackeray said the pandemic situation was likely to become serious in Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Hingoli and asked the respective district collectors to increase testing, step up implementation of corona management measures in hamlets and colonies. “Study the contagion in your city or district and do not reopen in a hurry,” he added.
Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte directed the district collectors to increase RT-PCR testing and implement the containment measures more strictly.
The state’s Covid taskforce chairman, Dr Sanjay Oak, and member, Dr Shashank Joshi, said that the number of tests needs to be increased in all the seven districts. “The symptoms of this virus are also changing. It is very important to remove the misconceptions in the minds of the citizens about vaccination and motivate them. In some cases, curbs will have also to be tightened,” they said.
In a virtual meeting meeting with oxygen manufacturers, Thackeray asked them to ramp up production, as the state government has launched Mission Oxygen, to increase the oxygen capacity to 3,000 metric tonnes from the present 1,300 MT and also increase the storage capacity in the next three to four weeks, to meet requirements in the possible third wave.
Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte said oxygen manufacturers should set up their projects in the state, especially in remote rural areas, help in increasing the oxygen storage capacity of the state, and also cooperate with the government in its transportation. He hoped for cooperation in the availability of ISO tankers, increase in oxygen filling points, conversion of nitrogen carrying tankers into oxygen tankers.